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Air Force Thunderbird Crashes At Idaho Air Show (Sept 15, 2003)
kbci ^

Posted on 09/15/2003 12:39:08 PM PDT by chance33_98

Air Force Thunderbird Crashes At Idaho Air Show

By Editorial Staff and Associated Press

BOISE - Most of video cameras were focused on the first four Thunderbirds at the "Gunfighter Skies" air show at the Mountain Home Air Force Base. But it was the last one that people here will never forget. An Air Force F-16C plowing into the ground before 85-thousand stunned spectators. The pilot maneuvered the jet into a dive and steered toward the crowd. Then seemed to suffer engine failure when he pilot tried to pull up, witnesses said.

Will Hannold saw the devastation firsthand, "I was horrified, I couldn't believe it. I got sick to my stomach. I wasn't sure if he survived." The crowd was transfixed by the fire ball. Hannold estimates it was two hundred yards long.

The horror was quickly replaced by elation when the pilot appeared in the distance. He had ejected from the F-16C moments before it crashed. "There was a cheer that went up, so we knew he was okay," said Hannold.

Kathy Staricco was rolling her camcorder and also caught the crash on tape, "The next thing I know, I just seen the plane for a second and the fire behind it and I heard the guy next to me say he just crashed. And I couldn't believe it, what he [had] just told me, everybody around me was just kind of quiet"

The cause of the crash will be determined by federal and Air Force investigators who also asked for all videotapes shot by cameras at the scene.

The Thunderbirds unit has performed air demonstrations since 1947. The jets at the air show were from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. The plane's valued at about 18-point-eight million dollars.

Captain Chris Stricklin was hospitalized for observation and was released last night .

Capt Chris R. Stricklin, 31, in his first season with the Thunderbirds, flies the No. 6 jet as the Opposing Solo. Capt Stricklin entered the Air Force in 1994 from the U.S. Air Force Academy. Before his assignment to the team, Capt Stricklin served as a F-15C flight commander, instructor pilot, and flight examiner with the F-15C Formal Training Unit, 1st Fighter Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. He has logged more than 1,500 hours as an Air Force pilot, with more than 1,200 hours in F-15 C/D and F-16 C/D. Capt Stricklin calls Shelby, Alabama, home. (Bio/Photo Courtesy: http://www.airforce.com/thunderbirds/)

A spokeswoman said the Thunderbirds will continue to tour. An airshow is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in Wichita, Kansas, then Janesville, Wisconsin on September 27th and 28th.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Idaho
KEYWORDS: airshow; eject; thunderbird; usaf

1 posted on 09/15/2003 12:39:09 PM PDT by chance33_98
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To: chance33_98
Sorry to hear it.
2 posted on 09/15/2003 12:41:20 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: msdrby; RosieCotton
Aim High ping
3 posted on 09/15/2003 12:50:20 PM PDT by Prof Engineer (I married Msdrby on 9/11/03. --- Blast it Jim, I'm an Engineer, not a walking dictionary.)
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To: DoughtyOne
January 18, 1982, saw the catastrophic "Diamond Crash" occur during a practice over Range 65, now referred to as "The Gathering of Eagles Range". The team was conducting a line abreast loop maneuver, when a malfunction of the Commander/leader's aircraft proved to be fatal for the four pilots of the Diamond formation. Those involved were: Maj. Norm Lowry, commander/leader; Capt. Willie Mays, left wing; Capt. Pete Peterson, right wing; and Capt. Mark Melncon, slot. Due to this catastrophe and the transition to a new aircraft, the Thunderbirds did not perform any aerial demonstrations during the 1982 demonstration season.

---------------------------

IIRC, the planes all guided to the leader, and crashed within feet of each other, still in formation.

4 posted on 09/15/2003 12:55:39 PM PDT by gridlock (All I need to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11/01)
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To: gridlock
I remember that. They were so focused on staying in formation that not one of them noticed that they were flying into the ground.
5 posted on 09/15/2003 1:06:01 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: Clarinet_King
Check the pic. See how close to the runway the pilot is? Notice the chute is perpendicular to the ground. Means he is just coming out the cockpit. He didn't get one full swing before he hit the ground.
6 posted on 09/15/2003 1:08:15 PM PDT by NerdDad
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To: NerdDad
The ejection seats in our modern aircraft are designed to operate successfully at zero forward airspeed and zero feet above ground level and (nearly) anywhere else within the aircraft's flight envelope.
7 posted on 09/15/2003 1:23:30 PM PDT by ericthecurdog
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To: chance33_98
Thank you GOD for spareing capt. Stricklands life.
AS for the designers of the escape pod, Great job guys.
8 posted on 09/15/2003 1:50:18 PM PDT by Joe Boucher
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To: gridlock
Way back when.. My Squadron CO was an Ex-Blue Angel...

When doing our work ups prior to going to Vietnam... He brought us out three at a time
for "Formation Drills". He told us, quote, "All heads are on me ! I fly the formation , you
fly on me. If I hit a mountain.. I want four evenly spaced holes !!!!”

I knew I made it to the "BIG " time
9 posted on 09/15/2003 1:56:54 PM PDT by Robe (Rome did not create a great empire with meetings,they did it by killing all those who opposed them)
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To: chance33_98
Captain Chris Stricklin was hospitalized for observation and was released last night .

Wow! ACES-II saves another fighter pilot's @$$. Nothin' like it.

10 posted on 09/15/2003 2:02:58 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard
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To: ericthecurdog
I know the seats are designed that way and I know the pilots are well trained in their use. Somehow I doubt that knowledge helped loosen the pucker factor for this pilot at all. Coming out of one of those things at that angle and getting one swing on the silk before you find the ground can't be a good feeling. I recall one pilot friend who referred to as "his @sshole eating his shorts."

Knew a guy when I was in the AF who got a chute just above the trees after dropping from 14,000 ft. He was an F-4 nav before coming to UPT and reached (several times) in the wrong place for the handle in the T-38 that just came apart around him. Man/seat separator broke behind him and he had to get himself out of the seat. He was a really good pilot and a great guy. Only survivor in that mid-air. (I lost 3 good friends that day.) I was delighted to see him back in the cockpit following the compression fracture (6 months on medical). Went on to get an F-15 after UPT.
11 posted on 09/15/2003 7:17:20 PM PDT by NerdDad
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To: NerdDad
It's surprising that he was able to wave to the crowd as stated in the article... as I understand it collarbones are frequently broken by ejecting.
12 posted on 09/17/2003 6:42:24 AM PDT by ericthecurdog
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To: ericthecurdog
{upon review} er... perhaps it was a different article.
13 posted on 09/17/2003 6:44:06 AM PDT by ericthecurdog
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To: gridlock
My brother was flying left wing, Capt. Willie Mays.
I remember the date well...

I'm glad the Solo pilot made a safe ejection.
14 posted on 12/06/2003 6:28:57 AM PST by xlbder
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To: xlbder
Welcome to Free Republic. Sorry for your loss.
15 posted on 12/06/2003 6:36:20 AM PST by FreedomPoster (this space intentionally blank)
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To: xlbder
A sad day. I'm sure you miss him very much.

Welcome to FR.
16 posted on 12/06/2003 6:36:31 AM PST by leadpenny
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To: xlbder
Sorry for your loss. I thank you for your brother's service to his country. The Thunderbirds are the best of the best.

It is good to see the pilot in this crash ejected safely.
17 posted on 12/06/2003 7:46:21 PM PST by gridlock (ELIMINATE PERVERSE INCENTIVES)
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To: xlbder
WOW!
How ironic that on the VERY DAY that you register at
FR...ANOTHER Thunderbirds accident.
How coincidental! (sarcasm off)
18 posted on 12/06/2003 7:52:16 PM PST by firehunter
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To: firehunter; xlbder
I'm beginning to wonder about this too.

xlbder has only posted that one time.

19 posted on 12/07/2003 5:42:49 AM PST by leadpenny
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To: Prof Engineer
Aim High ping

Just aim higher next time :-)

20 posted on 12/07/2003 5:44:47 AM PST by krb (the statement on the other side of this tagline is false)
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To: hellinahandcart
"insider" ping
21 posted on 12/07/2003 5:50:17 AM PST by Tijeras_Slim (SSDD - Same S#it Different Democrat)
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